Open and Affirming!

Open and Affirming!

All are welcome!

First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
40 South Fullerton Avenue
Montclair, New Jersey 07042
Phone: 973-744-4856
email: admin@fccmtc.com

Friday, May 27, 2011

FCC Children's Education Program - May 29, 2011

Dear FCC Parents,


I hope you all are doing well and looking forward to enjoying the holiday weekend with your families!

This week, Jesus reconfirms the relationship we have among himself, God, the Holy Spirit and us.  In John 14:15-21, Jesus assures us that we are not alone or abandoned in life, but that God is with us always and God even sent us a "helper" to keep us grounded in God.  Jesus' message is simple - we are all in this together, including himself and God.

For our daily lives, what does this unity mean or how does it change anything?  Jesus reminds us that at the heart of our connection to each other and to God is love - a love that spills out into our actions, words and relationships.

This weekend, I encourage you to talk with your child about what being in it with God means.    Remind your child that from the big moments in life down to the little ones, God is with us and we are given the opportunity to share God's love with others.


FCC Worship
Sunday May 27, 2011 - 11 AM - NOTE TIME CHANGE
First Montclair House
56 Walnut St.

As the church is closed due to construction, we will be holding our worship at First Montclair House, a senior citizen's residence in Montclair (just off Grove St., behind Grove Pharmacy).  There will be no formal church school this Sunday, but there will be a few ways for the children to engage in this worship service.  We will have a children's sermon and paper and crayons available for the children to draw pictures and cards for FMH residents.  I know a few children have done this previously and it was really special for FMH; they thanked the children immensely for their kindness and talked about hanging up the drawings on their refrigerator.  Children are also encouraged to participate in the ice cream social after worship, which will be delicious as long as a lot of fun!

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, please let me know.  Take care and I hope to see you all on Sunday!

Mattie Johnson

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This Sunday at First Congregational Church! May 29, 2011 This is our "Jesus Has Left the Building...And We Followed!" service Sunday

Please note the following information:

Due to construction work going on in our building, the entire building will be closed Friday, May 27 through Monday May 30th. However, we will be "following Jesus" to various locations to serve our community.

On Sunday we will be gathering for worship at First Montclair House, a senior citizen's residence at 56 Walnut St. in Montclair (just off Grove St., behind Grove Pharmacy). Rev. Ann will be preaching on John's Gospel 14:15-21 -- in a sermon titled "What's Love Got to Do With It?"

Worship will begin at 11:00am.

While we will not have formal church school, children are welcome and will be making special pictures and cards for the residents during worship.

Immediately following worship we will have a coffee hour and ice-cream social with the residents.  All "savory" brunch -type contributions would be welcome!

cheese/crackers
fruit
bagels
quiche, etc.

If you would like to bring something, please contact Liz Donald at Liz77donald@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

FCC Children's Education Program - May 22, 2011 follow-up

Dear FCC Parents,


I hope you all enjoyed the weekend with your families!


This past Sunday, May 22, the children began one part of a two week lesson about fellowship. Using John 14:1-14 as our jumping off point, we explored what it means for Jesus to be "the way, and the truth, and the life."  Jesus lovingly invites us into his relationship with God.  As we get to experience God's love through Jesus, we are encouraged to share God's love with others in true fellowship.  The children explored the importance of fellowship through making a "path" of good deeds and becoming "team machines" that encourage working together and respecting each other.


This week, I encourage you to speak with your child about other opportunities s/he can take to love others.  Particularly this comingSunday, May 29, we are participating in Jesus Has Left The Building, a Sunday where our worship is expressed through helping others.  There are many ways to participate and you should refer to your bulletin for more information.  I encourage you this week to pick a venue and fellowship opportunity that appeals to your family and to talk more with your child about the value of helping out and continuing to love others through fellowship opportunities.

Jesus Has Left The Building
Sunday May 29 - 10:30am
First Montclair House - NOTE LOCATION CHANGE!
56 Walnut Street

One opportunity geared just for children is during the worship service on Sunday at First Montclair House the children will make a welcome banner for foster children arriving from Colombia for a summer in the US and learn about welcoming the "stranger" or anyone new to our communities.  Between the art project and spending time with friends at church, this Sunday will be a lot of fun!

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to contact me.


Take care and I hope you have a great week.  See you on Sunday,
Mattie Johnson

Monday, May 23, 2011

Share the Sermon May 29!

This Sunday we continue to explore the Gospel of John and particularly chapter 14:15-21 where Jesus shares his parting thoughts with his friends.  He focuses his message on how his friends are to continue his ministry without him and promises them that he will not truly leave him as his Spirit will be with them. As you read this passage, I invite your reflections on how the Spirit is present to you.   Does it challenge you?  Inspire you? Comfort you? I welcome your refelctions!

I am really looking foward to continuing this shared experience and thank all of you for the many ways you inspire my ministry!

peace,
Ann

Rev. Ann Ralosky
Senior Minister
First Congregational Church, UCC
40 South Fullerton Ave
Montclair, NJ  07042

www.firstcongmontclair.org

Friday, May 20, 2011

Reminder - Bridges brown bag lunches due Sunday!

This Sunday in the FCC Children's Education Program

This Sunday in the FCC Children's Education Program

Dear FCC Parents,

I hope you all are having a good week, despite all of this rain!

This Sunday in the FCC Children's Education Program, we continue our journey through the experiences of the early Christian church to learn more about the value of fellowship. What does fellowship mean? Why is it a valuable means of expressing our relationships to God? This week through the story of Stephen and the first Christian communities, we learn how important it is to take care of each other, to love each other and to work together. Through making a "stone" path of good deeds and becoming "team machines" to highlight the importance of working together, the children are going to jump into their journeys of faith.

Fellowship, or sharing God's love with others, is something some of the children have learned about in the past. Is there someone in your child's life that s/he could reach out to and share God's love with? Or is there a particular social justice issue, such as hunger, homelessness or relief aid that your child has expressed interest in helping out at before? This weekend, I encourage you to speak with your child about the opportunities in their own lives to love others.

As always, if you have any questions, thoughts, advice or concerns, please let me know.

Take care and I hope you enjoy the weekend,

Mattie Johnson

Friday, May 13, 2011

This Sunday at First Congregational Church! May 15, 2011, 10:30am

The season of Easter continues as we experience the risen Christ in different ways.  This Sunday we hear the story of the early Christian community -- that radical group who attempted to create a new way to live together.  Welcoming the stranger, sharing all they had with whoever had need, and turning no one away was what set them apart.  Centering all of this in the love of risen Christ is what brought them together.  We will hear about this remarkable community in a scripture reading from the Book of Acts (2:42-47).

While Rev. Ann is away on retreat this weekend, we are very blessed to have with us a special guest preacher, Rev. Sue Goodwin, Co-Pastor of Grace UCC in Flemington, NJ. She will explore this passage in a sermon called "Christian Community."  Please welcome her warmly into our community!

Lay Worship Leaders:

Liturgist:      Jocelyn Emerson
Ushers:         Del Pentecost, Willie Harris & Robert Kerr
Reader:        Barry Moore
Coffee hour: Clarissa Schoch

Announcements

New Member class continues this Sunday, May 15!  If you are interested in learning more about FCC, the United Church of Christ, and what it means to be a member of this congregation, please join us in the library immediately after worship.  This the third of three classes which run for one hour each.  Those wishing to join will be recieved into membership during worship on Sunday, May 22.  Child care is available during the classes.  Please see Rev. Ann for details.
    
Ministry of Children and Youth meeting immediately after worship.    Our church school is growing and we have many plans on how to help it thrive into the future.  All parents are invited to join Lynley Jones and Mattie Johnson in the church school classroom immediately after worship to learn more.  Child care will be provided.
    
Dinner and a Movie Sunday night at 5pm in the Guild Room.    Enjoy the critically-acclaimed family film "Up!" and share some fun with FCC Friends.  Bring a pot-luck dish to share, relax and watch the fillm -- a perfect Sunday evening!
    
Bible Study is held every Sunday at 9:30am in the library.  All are welcome to join a lively and thought-provoking discussion on the lectionary reading.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Upcoming Events in the FCC Children's Education Program - May 15, 2011

Dear FCC Parents,

I hope you all are doing well!  It was lovely to see so many of you and your children today.  I again wanted to congratulate all of the children who received their Bibles this morning.  It is one step of many on their journeys of faith and we hope their Bibles will be helpful to them.  If your child could not make it to the Bible workshop, we have extra handouts available in the church school room, feel free to pick them up next Sunday.

To recap what your children learned about in the Children's Education Program this morning - we read Luke 24:13-35 (the story of two disciples meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus) to launch into a discussion about communion.  At the heart of our conversation was how communion not only speaks to our relationship with God, where we seek to be closer to God and we receive physical and spiritual nourishment from God, but also our relationships to each other, where we seek to care for each other and grow closer together.   

If you wanted to talk with your child more about what s/he learned about in church school today, you could ask your child - what opportunities do you have in you own life to care for others?  Are there people in your life that you could reach out to and share God's love with?  I hope that the seeds planted this morning through the Children's Education Program continue to grow throughout this coming week.

 Finally, below there is more information about an upcoming event at FCC - the first meeting of the Children and Youth Ministry!  As always, if you have any questions, feel free to be in contact with me.

Take care and I hope you all have a great week,
Mattie Johnson

Friday, May 6, 2011

Donations needed for Bridges brown bag lunches

This Sunday at First Congregational Church!

Sunday, May 8, 2011:

The season of Easter continues as we experience the risen Christ in different ways.  This Sunday we hear the story of the two travelers on the Emmaus Road who encounter Christ in the form of a stranger who "warms their hearts" and "opens their eyes."  After the horrors and heartache of Good Friday, they were not expecting this re-appearance of God's love in their midst.   How often are we taken by surprise by the same thing?

This Sunday we will also explore the events of this last week and wrestle with the implications for us as Americans and as followers of Jesus.  We will share a modern lesson from the Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, who challenges us to look deeply at how we respond to war and conflict.  As with any subject as complex as this, there are more questions than answers. Rev. Ann will address the many national responses to the killing of Osama bin Laden in a sermon entitled "How Do We Respond?"

Lay Worship Leaders:

Liturgist:      Jocelyn Emerson

Ushers:         Brendan Bevensee, Del Pentecost,  Willie Harris & Robert Kerr

Reader:        Deirdre Nance

Coffee hour:  Hospitality Ministry (Del Pentecost & Jeanne LoCicero

Special Announcements

    * New Member classes continue this Sunday, May 8!  If you are interested in learning more about FCC, the United Church of Christ, and what it means to be a member of this congregation, please join us in the library immediately after worship.  This the second of three classes which run for one hour each.  Even if you missed the first class, please feel free to attend.  Those wishing to join will be recieved into membership during worship on Sunday, May 22.  Child care is available during the classes.  Please see Rev. Ann for details.

    * Bible Study is held every Sunday at 9:30am in the library.  All are welcome to join a lively and thought-provoking discussion on the lectionary reading.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ministry of Children Education & Youth